26
Aug
13

VegaStrike

Controls

Controls

Vega Strike is an open world space exploration, trading and combat simulator much like the classic games Elite and Elite Frontier. I originally played the 0.43 release many years ago and I thoroughly enjoyed playing it, although that version had some annoying properties such as other vessels appearing out of no where! Fortunately since then the development community has been very active and the recent releases have fixed many bugs and added new content to the game.

The Basic Cockpit

The Basic Cockpit

The game is rendered in 3d using OpenGL acceleration. It supports many different levels of detail and shaders as well as an older rendering engine for those of us with older hardware. Most modern systems shouldn’t have any trouble getting a decent frame-rate, but on older machines it could be slow if not configured properly. Fortunately even some on board graphics and Atom based systems have been tested and have been able to run the game.

Approaching a Fighter Barracks

Approaching a Fighter Barracks

The artwork in the game is of decent quality and has been gradually replacing the older graphics from earlier releases. Additionally many new ships and other features have been added to the engine that have improved the visuals. There are however some visual aspects that could use work such as the vessel cockpits.

The sound and music in game are also quite nice, especially the music. A good professional job has been done for the most part, it just requires a bit of polish to bring everything up to the same standard.

Relay Station

Relay Station

The game is as I said inspired by the classic games Elite and it’s sequels which is reflected in the game play. You start out with a basic trading ship and some money which you can buy some cargo. So you have to start out as a trader in order to make enough money to buy a more capable ship. You can buy upgrades to make your starting ship a bit better in combat, but it’s really only sufficient to fend off pirates.

Asteroid Mining Station

Asteroid Mining Station

Eventually you’ll be able to buy a larger ship or fighter for combat duties. You’ll be able to buy a larger freighter if you want to move more or larger goods, but the downside is that the ship often is slow to maneuver and takes some time to accelerate. In buying a combat vessel you’ll be significantly faster, but won’t be able to carry much in the way of cargo. There are capital ships that are much larger, but they are extremely expensive and difficult to find.

Unfortunately there are many ships that can’t be purchased, and there are many weapons what seem unbalanced or difficult to use effectively. I’ve found the best kind of weapons to use currently are the beam weapons with auto-tracking in the mount. The development team seems to be aware of this, and it seems to be a result of many changes to the engine since 0.43 and the many new ships/weapons that have been added since.

Planets

Planets

Vega Strike being as unfinished and under development as it is, needs to be polished and balanced before reaching its full potential. Even so I’ve been playing it for some time and still found it to be quite fun. I’ve managed to accumulate a nice small fleet of ships including freighters and combat vessels, but have quite some way to go before I can take on a bigger combat job. Once you find a few lucrative trading runs, and get a basic combat ship flying you can take on any role you like within the limitations of your ships.

I’d recommend people use the latest release of the game that they can, or if you have the capability use the development version (available from subversion). This is so you can keep up with the latest data set updates and engine updates as there are constant improvements. It’s available on both Windows and Linux, I’m unsure as to whether it will work on other systems such as BSD or Mac OS.

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